The eben is a fan-like ceremonial sword associated with the court of the oba of the Benin Kingdom. In the same form it can be seen in today's court and in the famed cast copper alloy architectural plaques and figures that date back to the 16th century. It is raised aloft and twirled by courtiers honoring the king and his ancestors; and even tossed by the king himself in concluding the ceremony in honor of his predecessors.
Flat, iron leaf shaped blade with a central rib flanked by triangular cut outs, the bladed edge bordered by a row of diamond cut outs, with a twisted stem shaft that ends in split curls surrounded by a twisted loop handle.
Glen Rhodes, McLean, Virginia, -- to 2002
Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., September 17, 2014-July 31, 2016
IYARE!: Splendor and Tension in Benin's Palace Theater, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, November 1, 2008-February 28, 2009
Hurst, Norman. 1997. Ngola: The Weapon as Authority, Identity, and Ritual Object in Sub-Saharan Africa. Cambridge: Hurst Gallery, pp. 8-9, no. 2.